wrestling / Columns

Breaking Down The Disgusting Hit Job on SmackDown

March 31, 2019 | Posted by Dino Zee
Charlotte Flair WWE Smackdown 3-26-19

It was one of the more blatant displays of collusion between management and talent in recent memory. It was an egregious example of the company putting its own selfish wishes ahead of following the proper protocol and allowing those who had earned an opportunity to compete. It was a shallow attempt at driving up more headlines and hashtags. And, for once, would you believe that I’m not griping about Impact Management?

This past Tuesday’s SmackDown Live saw plans change when a match to determine a number one contender to Asuka’s SmackDown Women’s Championship was basically quietly thrown to the side. Instead, fans would be treated to a backstage interview with Becky Lynch. Lynch was discussing her upcoming triple threat match with Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania, and mocked Charlotte for not bringing anything of value to the match.

At this point, the familiar opening beats of Recognition hit, signaling the arrival of Charlotte. Cameras would take us back to the arena, where The Queen would look directly into the camera, promising the home viewer that they were about to see something special before a commercial break interrupted the proceedings. When we returned to the broadcast, we saw Asuka in the ring, now set to defend her championship against Charlotte.

No mention was made of the once-hyped fatal four-way between Mandy Rose, Naomi, Sonya Deville and Carmella. We were expected to forget about that because, come on, it’s Asuka against Charlotte! Unfortunately, it was hard to get excited when everything stunk so badly of an orchestrated plan finally coming to fruition.

Asuka, the champion, was forced into an impromptu match against one of – if not the – very best competitor on the roster. She showed up to SmackDown Live in the frame of mind to scout whoever would be named the number one contender, and maybe get in the ring when the match was over to do a little face-off that could easily be used later for promotional material. To expect her to show up and then get ready for Charlotte, on its own, was dirty pool. Even dirtier, however, was the placement of the match on the card. This wasn’t a main event, nor did it happen at the top of the second hour.

Instead, this was the first match of the evening, following an opening segment with The New Day and Vince McMahon, and then the aforementioned interview with Becky. So, not only was Asuka unexpectedly forced to defend her championship against a top competitor, but they rushed the match so that she could have zero time to prepare for it.

Meanwhile, Charlotte came out as ready as could be, as if she had some kind of advanced knowledge of the whole situation. And, of course, she absolutely did. Because, unlike in Impact where I can blame a whole room of suits for their irresponsible choices, this one all falls at the feet of one person, and that’s Vince McMahon.

It’s not exactly a secret that McMahon is rooting for Charlotte here. From the second he placed her in the match as Becky’s replacement back in February, he’s gone all out to let us know that he considers her the shining example of everything he wants in his women’s wrestlers. She’s got the lineage, she delivers in the ring, and most importantly, she does what she’s told. As a reward, she’s been given every opportunity available heading into WrestleMania.

We’ve seen McMahon do similar things before. Heck, he was basically doing the same thing to Kofi Kingston, when he inserted Kevin Owens into the Fastlane match that Kofi had earned. What stands out about this current push of his is how little care he has shown for anyone else on the women’s roster.

It was one thing to suspend Becky for her actions and then put Charlotte into the match. It seemed to be a bit of an overreaction, especially after Becky had acquiesced to the request for an apology by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, but the case could be made that they were letting her off the hook a little too easily after she had assaulted the two of them.

Taking away a championship opportunity from four women who, to this point, have done nothing to McMahon to warrant that kind of action, however, was cruel. Especially when one considers that two of them – Carmella and Naomi – are former SmackDown Women’s Champions as well! To see former champions treated with such disregard was a letdown, and hopefully didn’t go unnoticed by the rest of the competitors on the roster.

What happened to Asuka, though, is unforgivable. This was a hit job, through and through. McMahon has, in 2019, appeared quite desperate to flex his muscle and show that he does still run the show. His actions have been erratic, and that includes Tuesday night when he forced the champion to defend her title – to do what she’s told, just like Charlotte would – and in the end, without proper time to prepare, Asuka was defeated.

All of this was done in the hope that Charlotte would win the title, so that she would belong in the triple threat. All of this – tearing away earned opportunities, crushing dreams, disrespecting former champions – was to help Charlotte silence all of the people that rightly pointed out her status as the third wheel in the feud between Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey.

When you’re as good as Charlotte, when you’ve done as much as she’s done, when you hold the records she holds… when you’re supposed to be the best, and you’re not even #2 in your match? That’s going to hurt the ego. And while she could talk forever and ever about all things she’d done in the past, she had nothing currently to brag about. Charlotte’s been coddled since day one, and has no idea how to deal with people not actively caring about her. She mirrors McMahon that way. It’s probably a big reason that they get along so well.

For now, Charlotte can pretend to be back on top of the world. But she knows that she needed a sneaky plan in order to force some kind of relevance onto her for WrestleMania. She knows she’s still taking on a Becky Lynch that has owned her since September, and a Ronda Rousey that’s still looking for some payback from that Survivor Series attack. Charlotte may have the system gamed for now, but she still has to actually compete.

Asuka, on the other hand, now has time to make her own plans. She did this before, rebuilding throughout 2018 after her heartbreaking loss to Charlotte at WrestleMania 34 to rebound with a shocking win at TLC against Charlotte and Becky to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Maybe she gets some revenge at WrestleMania. Maybe she waits a little longer. She’s proven herself, and she knows her chance will come again.

But if you’re Charlotte, you have to be very anxious. If she comes up short at WrestleMania, will McMahon still support her so strongly? Or will he, as he’s done to countless wrestlers over the years, just throw her to the side, in search of his new favorite that will win when he tells them to? It appears that, in her haste to scream “I MATTER, TOO!” to anyone who’d listen, that she forgot who her boss is. He’s many things, but someone to trust is not one of them.

If McMahon abandons her, she’ll have an entire roster of women who will be more than happy to pay her back for her selfish actions these last few months where she stole spots and opportunities that others had earned. All because of her last name.

It takes sacrifice to make it to the top, of this there is no doubt. This time, though, Charlotte has to realize that she forced others to sacrifice for her to make it to the top. No one will forget this, nor will they forgive. And that’s a scary thought, if you’re Charlotte.

Even scarier, for the rest of us, is what happens if Charlotte wins at WrestleMania. She’ll continue to have the support of McMahon, who will continue to stack the deck in her favor at every turn. Someone as good as Charlotte doesn’t need this kind of assistance, which is what makes it so frustrating when she gladly accepts it.

She was good enough to beat Asuka on an even playing field. She still chose to surprise her on a Tuesday night, instead.

Asuka deserved better. Hopefully she’ll get some satisfaction at WrestleMania, should she get to watch Charlotte lose.

article topics :

Asuka, Charlotte Flair, Smackdown, WWE, Dino Zee